50th Anniversary

In 2014, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum will celebrate its 50th Anniversary with a series of exhibitions and programs highlighting not just the Museum's legacy, but the relationship between the era in which it was founded and our current cultural landscape. With perspective gained through five decades, The Aldrich's formative years of 1964 to 1974 will be examined through a contemporary lens. The exhibition component of the anniversary will include three overlapping series presented over the course of a year. The first will feature a two-part exhibition—Standing in the Shadows of Love: The Aldrich Collection 1964–1974—of iconic, historical works that are representative of The Aldrich's early collection, acquired by the Museum's founder, Larry Aldrich. The second will present a group of new projects by contemporary artists whose work reflects the continuing influence of both art and culture from the 1960s and 1970s, in juxtaposition with the historical works. The third series features solo exhibitions of current work by established artists who were included in significant exhibitions during the Museum's first decade.

Opening October 19, 2014

Standing in the Shadows of Love:
The Aldrich Collection 1964–1974, Part II
Richard Artschwager, Eva Hesse, Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, Richard Serra

Through April 5, 2015

Standing in the Shadows of Love: The Aldrich Collection 1964–1974 is a two-part exhibition that examines Larry Aldrich’s legacy through the works of artists he championed early in their careers, a practice that continues to be honored in the mission of the Museum. Each of the exhibitions will present works by artists who had a significant presence in the Museum’s collection during its first decade, which coincided with one of the most defining periods in art of the twentieth century. The 1960s and early 1970s still reverberate in our culture fifty years later, as concerns that were news then, such as civil rights, women’s rights, the rise of media culture and “youth culture,” the inception of the environmental movement, and the questioning of America’s role as a world power, continue to be critical issues at the core of our social and political discourse. Although most periods of the past are being mined by contemporary artists, the 1960s are looked upon as a “hinge” between modernism and what came to be known as post-modernism, providing the seeds for a world-view that still defines many of our beliefs. The included works are either the actual pieces that were in the Museum’s early collection, or examples of the artist’s work from the same period.

Eva Hesse, Accession II, 1968 (1969)
Collection of Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Society Purchase, Friends of Modern Art Fund and Miscellaneous Gifts Fund.
Photo: The Bridgeman Art Library © The Estate of Eva Hesse. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth.


Mary Beth Edelson: Six Story Gathering Boxes (1972–2014)

Through April 5, 2015

Artist and activist Mary Beth Edelson was a pioneer of the feminist art movement. A leading member of the Women’s Action Coalition, she organized the first Conference for Women in 1972 and participated in early exhibitions at the A.I.R gallery, New York. This exhibition presents six of Edelson’s ground-breaking story gathering boxes—a project initiated in 1972 that demonstrated the first vestiges of what is known today as “social practice” and is still ongoing—including a new one specially commissioned by The Aldrich. There are two types of boxes: in one, wooden tablets created with diverse media encompass texts and imagery on specific themes; in the other, sets of paper tablets pose questions that prompt a response. Visitors are invited to participate by writing their stories, which become time capsules reflecting more than four decades of changing social history. The Edelson story box Great Mother (1973), which focused on goddess figures and was included forty years ago in The Aldrich presentation Contemporary Reflections (1973–74), will return to the Museum for the exhibition. Mary Beth Edelson: Six Story Gathering Boxes (1972–2014) is one of a series of solo presentations during the 2014–15 anniversary year that features artists whose work was included in historic Aldrich exhibitions.

Born 1933, East Chicago, IN; lives and works in New York
Curated by Amy Smith-Stewart
Image: Mary Beth Edelson, Great Mother, 1973.
Courtesy of the artist.


Kate Gilmore: A Roll in the Way

Through April 5, 2015

Kate Gilmore: A Roll in the Way is an installation, video, and performance-based artist. She is almost always the sole protagonist in her videos, which are recorded either privately in her studio or onsite, never rehearsed and only attempted once. She assumes the roles of characters who are subjected to situations on makeshift sets that act as the catalyst for a mélange of wacky plays on art and life. At The Aldrich, Gilmore will debut a new site-specific sculpture and video that is a record of a private performance produced within the Museum’s walls. The end result of her actions will be a monumental sculpture, comprised of a pile of logs covered in paint, on a white platform. The sheer scale of the installation is testament to the incredible physicality of Gilmore’s practice, reminiscent of the infinitives Richard Serra used to describe his own artistic process: “to lift,” “to roll,” and “to splash.”

Born 1975, Washington, DC; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY
Curated by Amy Smith-Stewart
Image: Kate Gilmore, Rock, Hard, Place (video still), 2012.
Courtesy of the artist.


Ernesto Neto
Body That Gravitates on Me

Through April 5, 2015

Ernesto Neto has become internationally known for translucent organic sculptures that often take on architectural proportions. Influenced by Brazilian artists from the 1960s such as Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark, Neto's work exhibits both playfulness and a formal rigor that is often—literally—stretched to the extreme by his use of flexible synthetic fabrics, particularly those used in stockings and tights: nylon and polyamide. Neto's work, The Body That Gravitates on Me, will be installed in The Aldrich's atrium, with its pendulous appendages dangling from the space's 25-foot ceiling. It will be juxtaposed with a work by Eva Hesse from 1967 that was in Larry Aldrich's collection. Like Neto's work in the present day, in the 1960s Hesse's sculpture referenced the body and utilized unusual and fragile materials in the service of reconciling formalism with figurative concerns.

Born 1964, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; lives and works in Rio de Janeiro
Curated by Richard Klein
Image: Ernesto Neto, The Body That Gravitates on Me, 2006.
Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.


David Scanavino: Imperial Texture

Through April 5, 2015

David Scanavino will create a site-specific floor installation and new large-scale wall relief for The Aldrich, transforming the South Gallery into both an experiential sculpture and an engaging platform for interactivity. Scanavino exploits the legacy of minimalism, with its affinity for reduced forms and industrial surfaces, but instead of polished steel and aluminum, he employs cheap, institutional materials like linoleum and newsprint pulp. For Imperial Texture, Scanavino will apply multicolored 1 x 1 foot linoleum tiles in a dizzying pattern, mimicking pixel arrays in an enlarged, compressed jpeg. The work will generate a tantalizing optical sensation, challenging the viewer’s dimensional perception and offering an intensified sensorial experience about body, site, and spatial composition. Applied by hand and comprised of a colorful construction paper pulp whose palette complements the floor, Peacock (2014) will span a gallery wall.

Born 1978, Denver, CO; lives and works in New York Curated by Amy Smith-Stewart Image: David Scanavino, Untitled (Imperial Study), 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, New York.


Cary Smith

Through April 5, 2015

Over the course of the past twenty-five years, the painter Cary Smith has engaged in a restless, but controlled, pursuit of abstraction. Smith’s paintings have been consistently categorized by a curious poetic logic, rigorous craft, and a beautiful, but not gratuitous, color sense. Working in the wake of the freedom presented by the collapse of Modernism’s rigid dogmas, Smith’s paintings vacillate between geometric and biomorphic abstraction and frequently include subtle references to the visual language utilized by Modernist design. Your Eyes They Turn Me will focus on recent paintings, including Smith’s “splats,” radiating works that utilize a splash-like motif, and “wonder wheels,” optically active, geometric grids that exhibit a music-like tonality. The title, Your Eyes They Turn Me (appropriated from a song by Radiohead), suggests optical attraction, desire, and movement— all things that a viewer encounters in Smith’s work. This is the artist’s first solo museum exhibition.

Born 1955, Puerto Rico; lives and works in Hartford, CT
Curated by Richard Klein
Image: Cary Smith, Wonder Wheel #8, 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Feature Inc., New York.


Jackie Winsor

Through April 5, 2015

Jackie Winsor was one of the most significant sculptors to emerge in the late 1960s. Winsor's work was shown at The Aldrich in the legendary Lucy Lippard exhibition, Twenty-Six Women Artists (1971); The Minimal Tradition (1979); postMINIMALism (1982); and Innovations in Sculpture (1988). This, her first solo museum exhibition since 1997, will unite ten works from the Inset Wall series, begun in 1988; Painted Piece, an influential performative sculpture from 1979–80, along with photographs recording its creation; and videos and photos documenting the making of Fifty-Fifty (1975) and Burnt Piece (1977–78). Curated in close collaboration with the artist, the exhibition concentrates on the ongoing Inset Wall series in order to underscore Winsor's evolving, revolutionary and singular approach—from the performative to the contemplative—to making sculpture. Taken as a whole, the exhibition will consider dynamic interplay of opposing power sources alive in a practice that spans more than five decades, one predicated on inwardness, as the viewer moves thoughtfully around these works, stepping up close to look deep within. This very interactivity, the physical insistence on the human body shifting, is what makes her works social; one wants to endure with them over time. Jackie Winsor is one of a series of solo presentations during the 2014–15 anniversary year that features artists whose work was included in historic Aldrich exhibitions.

Born 1941, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada
lives and works in New York
Curated by Amy Smith-Stewart
Image: Jackie Winsor, Painted Piece, 1979–80
Courtesy Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, with funds from Donna and Donald Baumgartner and Mrs. Helen Herbst in memory of her father Samuel C. Herbst by exchange.